Fans are just getting used to football being back following the recent international break, and in just a few weeks time domestic football will take a back-seat again, making way for a spate of European qualifiers and friendlies.
Alongside many of Celtic’s familiar faces on international duty could be none other than Matt O’Riley, who has been tipped for full international recognition next month.
According to Sky Sports, Celtic’s in-form midfielder is being seriously considered for a call-up to the Danish national team for the upcoming October international fixtures. The Dane represented England at youth level and is also eligible to represent the Norwegian national team, with Norway’s interest in calling up O’Riley potentially playing a factor in Denmark acting swiftly.
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O’Riley’s numbers so far this season have been very impressive, notching four goals and two assists in eight games. There is no doubt he has started in red-hot form and has added the goals to his game that fans were desperate to see. In fact, the midfielder has scored as many times in just eight games than he did in 52 appearances last season.
He has also been good at laying off his team-mates, filling the creative void left by Hatate’s injury well and linking up effectively with the likes of Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda.
He has shown the fight and grit that has been required to navigate Celtic through some tough games so far this season, especially given the vast spate of injuries the club has endured. His performances at Ibrox and Pittodrie were admirable and would have only further enhanced the player’s standing with manager Brendan Rodgers.
A final key to O’Riley’s game has to be his maturity. This season he has shown experience beyond his years, and that can be traced back to his days as a teenager when he knocked back the chance to remain at Fulham in order to take the risk of going elsewhere in search of first-team minutes – a big decision which has ultimately paid off for the Dane.
Clubs from Germany and England are starting to circle, with substantial bids coming in for O’Riley in the summer. You get the feeling with O’Riley, though, that he would only leave Celtic if the move is right and regular starting minutes are within his grasp.
Matt O’Riley has shown the willingness to learn and develop as a footballer, and full internation recognition would be the next step in a career that is only going one way.
JAMES MCKENZIE // Follow James HERE